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Issue Position: Energy and the Environment

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Green Energy, Green Jobs, and Safe Communities

Never before in the history of our country have we had such an opportunity to serve our environment, deliver on the demand for 21st century energy generation and drive economic development and job creation with leadership and sound public policy.

We need more leaders in Richmond that fight for reducing dangerous emissions and greenhouse gases through reductions in energy demand, elevating energy efficiency programs and rewarding the clean generation of renewable energy resources like wind, biomass and solar.

From his advocacy for the reauthorization of the Clean Air Act and Safe Drinking Water Act to his efforts to help revitalize the Chesapeake Bay to his work on the remediation of toxic sites around the region -- Alfonso has fought to protect our environment. He will continue to be a strong advocate for energy efficiency, conservation, and the innovative use of technology to create Green Jobs, grow the green economy, and reduce our carbon footprint.

I have been in the environment and energy public policy trenches for years -- fighting for safer communities, coastal protection, energy efficiency, conservation, clean water, and remediation of toxic sites. From my work in the Clinton White House on environmental justice issues to my work as an environmental activist fighting for the passage of the Clean Air Act and Safe Drinking Water Act reauthorization bills to my work in the U.S. Senate on remediation of childhood cancer clusters -- I understand the impact that the environment has on human health. I also understand the peace of mind that parents want -- knowing that their children and families are safe from environmental toxins.

Imagine a government that truly did all it could to protect the environment -- so that we were certain our children were safe from harm.

…One where an asthmatic child doesn't have to suffer through another poor air quality day.

…One where runoff into our waterways was controlled and the Chesapeake Bay was a jewel once again.

At this critical time Virginia should be doing more to protect our environment and safeguard public health. For instance, Northern Virginia does not meet federal air quality standards. At least 80 percent of Northern Virginia's streams are in fair to poor condition.

The Potomac River got a grade of D for its health. Also, Virginia ranks 38th among states in energy efficiency.

Alfonso is the right person at this time to be a progressive champion on environmental issues. He has a background in environmental law and policy -- earning a Certificate in Environmental Law when he graduated from law school. He also has extensive public policy experience working on environmental issues.

For instance, as the head of Congressional and Federal Affairs for Governor Kaine, Alfonso managed and negotiated all aspects of the Governor's Southern Governors Association Chairman's Initiative on Climate Change and Energy Independence in the Southern States. He also represented Virginia in meetings with the Minerals Management Service of the U.S. Department of Interior during discussions of Bush Administration plans to begin offshore drilling near Virginia Beach. He also worked with Members of the Virginia and Maryland Congressional Delegations on strengthening Chesapeake Bay clean up provisions in the Farm Bill.

As a part of the Obama Administration, working as the White House Liaison at the U.S. General Services Administration, Alfonso served as an Advisor to the Administrator and Chief of Staff on a wide range of issues including energy efficiency goals for the Federal government.

Working as an environmental activist in the late 1990's, Alfonso focused on global climate change and the impact of environmental degradation on human health. He worked tirelessly on successful campaigns to pass the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 and to defend the improved EPA standards for ozone and particulate air pollution. He also drafted the 1998 Children's Environmental Health Report Card for the Physicians for Social Responsibility.

While working in the U.S. Senate, Alfonso served as the energy and environment advisor to a Democratic U.S. Senator. While there he drafted numerous pieces of legislation, including the Zero Tolerance for Repeat Polluters Act, the School Environment Protection Act, and the National Estuary Conservation Act (enacted into law). He also assisted in efforts to negotiate political solutions for State issues, including ocean dumping off the coast, out-of-state garbage transport and disposal, and remediation of childhood cancer clusters.

While working in the Council on Environmental Quality at the White House, Alfonso served as an Assistant to the Associate Director for Toxics and Environmental Protection. In this position he worked on environmental justice issues as well as Federal Facilities remediation research.

Alfonso worked as a Law Clerk at the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1994. In this position he assisted in drafting contracts, memoranda, and amicus curiae briefs on issues relating to historic preservation, property, and environmental law. He also researched the applicability of National Environmental Protection Act and National Historic Preservation Act regulations to historic properties. More importantly, he conducted research and assisted in the fight against the Disney Corporation's "America" project -- which was poised to build a Magic Kingdom-like "history theme park" in Northern Virginia. Fake history replacing real history.

Alfonso will support legislation to:

* Increase the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) goal to 20% by 2025. Develop incentives for meeting the goals.

* Provide incentives for the use and implementation of advanced electrical metering infrastructure.

* Implement the recommendations of the Governor's Commission on Climate Change, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

* Establish a tougher, mandatory energy efficiency standard under which investor-owned electric utilities would be required to reduce electricity use by at least 25% of 2006 consumption levels by 2025. A utility would have to make alternate compliance payments if it does not meet the energy efficiency goal.

* Mandate that all new State, Local, university, or school system buildings (larger than 5,000 square feet) be built to LEED silver or equivalent Green Globes standards. Virginia should lead by example and show businesses that we can meet large portions of our energy needs through measures like tougher building codes and energy efficient appliances, lighting, and heating.

* Mandate any entity (private or government) that is required to report emissions under an existing air pollution control permit to also report greenhouse gas emissions.

* Expand eligibility for the current solar tax credit to a broader range of alternative energy companies.

* Work to restrict construction of new coal-fired powered plants in Virginia and encourage greener energy sources.

* Expand the use of public transit and alternate modes of transportation.

* Create incentives to use more of Virginia's resources such as offshore wind and solar.

* Establish an income tax credit for individuals and corporations installing solar photovoltaic and thermal (hot water and hot air) systems and small wind systems.

* Further expand the existing incentive grant available to solar photovoltaic manufacturers to cover manufacturing of other low and no-carbon energy sources. This will include other renewable energy sources and support formation of new green jobs in Virginia.

* Exempt solar, hydrokinetic, thermal systems, and wind systems from payment of sales taxes.

* Revamp the green jobs/angel investor tax credit to target it toward energy business, technology, and R&D investments.


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